ARMYWORMS INVASION WON’T AFFECT PLANTING FOR FOOD, JOBS PROJECT – AGRIC MINISTER

Armyworms invasion won’t affect Planting for food, jobs project – Agric Minister

Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | Austin Brakopowers | Austin.powers@myjoyonline.com | Instagram: @realbrakopowers
Date: 18th-may-2017 Time:  2:28:28 pm

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The Agricultural Minister says government’s Planting for Food and Jobs programme will not be affected by recent armyworms invasion of some farms across the country.

Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto told Joy News Thursday, government is working vigorously to rid the affected farms of the worms.

“This is very limited [because] armyworms destroy up to 1,400 hectares that’s all [but] we are talking about hundreds of thousands of hectares in this country,” he said of the destruction of the armyworms.

Many sub-Saharan African countries have been hit by the invasion of Fall Armyworms which is said to originate from the Americas. Countries such as Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Ghana among others have had over hundred hectares of farms invaded.

Statistics at the Agricultural Ministry in 2016 show the Fall Armyworm pests destroyed over 4,500 hectares of farmlands in Ghana.

Since its invasion in March, 2017 the pests have destroyed more than 1,370 hectares of maize, cowpea and cocoa farms. The Western, Brong Ahafo and Ashanti Regions are the worst hit.

The Peasant Farmers Association has warned the country’s food security will be in jeopardy if the destruction by the pests is not curtailed.

Programme Officer of the Association, Charles Nyaaba said visits to farms in Kintampo, Nkoranza and Techiman revealed the devastating condition of some farms due to the invasion.

“All those who planted earlier had to harrow their lands again and then use it to plant different crops because of how the FAW had destroyed them,” he told Graphic Business.

But the Minister said the country’s food security will not be tampered with because of the invasion by the armyworms.

“It is under control…we’re on the field [and] we’ve seen them spraying the farms,” he said, adding the Ministry is still distributing pesticides to farmers.

“By the end of this week all the farms affected would have been sprayed,” he assured.

The Planting for Food and Jobs project, the flagship programme of the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo government, is expected to create over 750,000 direct and indirect jobs.

The overall objective of the programme is to produce enough food to feed Ghanaians while the surplus will be exported to neighbouring countries for foreign exchange.

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